Letter to the editor: In regards to Kasamoto letter on Nov. 18

Alexander Riccio

I am white and I support Monday’s ‘Speak Out’

On Nov. 18, the Barometer published a letter to the editor from political science student, Riker Kasamoto, where he made a sweeping assumption that the recent ‘Speak Out’ would not “likely get the support of the majority white community” at OSU. Before I comment any further on Kasamoto’s other remarks I wish to state that I am white, and I empathically support the decision to feature only the voices of students of color at the “Speak Out.”

Kasamoto also claimed that white students had their First Amendment right infringed upon by being asked not to speak at the event. This is a strange claim from a student studying political science. The First Amendment does not guarantee your right to speak, but what it does prevent is any legal sanction of your speech. Being asked not to comment does not suppress your right, being legally reprimanded for making a comment does.

Yet the most disappointing statement to read came when Kasamoto wrote that “Speak Out OSU should’ve represented students under the color of Orange and Black, not just on race.” Here Kasamoto relies on a familiar trope, which pleads for colorblindness instead of critical reflection. One might imagine they are enlightened for pretending race doesn’t matter, but it is not admirable to pine for abstract unity without acknowledging the social differences that stratify society. In order to create an OSU that can properly be represented by its school colors (which not coincidentally have historical connections to white supremacist groups—look it up), we have a responsibility first to make substantive changes to the university’s institutional makeup so that students of color can actually feel welcomed and included. Sadly, none of Kasamoto’s comments make any real attempt at accomplishing this goal.

Alexander Riccio

Masters of Interdisciplinary Studies (MAIS)

Member of Allied Students for Another Politics (ASAP!)